Law Reform: Federal environmental assessment law

In 1992, the Government of Canada enacted the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), establishing environmental assessment (EA) processes to identify, evaluate and mitigate adverse environmental effects that may be caused by projects under federal jurisdiction.

In 2012, CEAA was repealed and replaced by CEAA,2012, a law that applied to a much smaller set of projects, greatly expanded Ministerial discretion, and considerably narrowed the nature and scope of federal EA requirements.

In response to ongoing public concerns about CEAA 2012, the Government of Canada established an advisory Expert Panel in 2016 to consult Canadians on how to make federal EA processes more robust, evidence-based, participatory, and credible. The Panel reported in 2017 followed by a government Discussion Paper outlining possible legislative reforms. In June 2019, Parliament passed omnibus Bill C-69, which contained the Impact Assessment Act. This new law came into force in August 2019, and it repealed and replaced CEAA, 2012.

CELA has a long history of engagement with federal environmental assessment reform including the lead up and response to the 2016 Expert Panel review of CEAA, 2012 and all aspects of the Parliamentary review of Bill C-69. Commentary, blogs, briefing notes, media releases, and detailed reports and analyses are gathered below.

Related – See also our Casework Profile: Upholding the Federal Impact Assessment Act

Reports, Publications, Responses to Consultation